For most children, our modern industrial society is restrictive.
Their social status and economic worth are postponed until adulthood.
But chess can offer a rare entry into the adult world.
Children who are reasonably good at the game can find themselves playing at least as well as, or even better than, educated adults.
These adults - who might be doctors, lawyers, professors or other successful professionals - often become friends, providing access that is unavailable to most children or even adults of lesser status.
Such early adult contacts make you smarter and better-prepared for life.
For a child, defeating a schoolteacher at chess turns a key relationship on its head and is likely to engender lasting confidence.